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Softball clinches playoff berth with three WIAC wins in final week

April 29, 2015

The UW-River Falls softball team had a strong final week of the regular season finishing at 20-20 on the season and 4-2 in the last six games.

The Falcons finished sixth in the WIAC and qualified for the WIAC tournament that begins on Friday, May 1, at UW-Eau Claire.

Head Coach Faye Perkins talked about what the team needed to do to qualify for the WIAC tournament and how tough the conference really is.

“It’s a matter of being consistent, we have struggled the last few games with leaving people on base,” Perkins said. “We teams are so close in this conference, if you make a little mistake, then you might lose the game off that small mistake. Can’t have a bad inning because those kill you.”

In Perkins’ last season as head coach, the team has struggled at home after starting 0-6 at home going into the final home series against UW-Stout, and emotions ran high for Perkins.

“Having been here for 22 years, it’s kind of an end of an era, and a beginning of a new chapter, and after our season is over, they will tear down the field and start building another,” Perkins said. “With this being my last home game, it really is a new chapter with next year’s team.”

The Falcons took care of business against Stout, winning by a score of 2-1 in the first game as senior pitcher Brooke Lauritzen allowed only just three hits in the game.

In the second game, a back-and-forth match ended with a score of 12-9 in the Falcons’ favor. In a magical ending in the final home game of the regular season, senior catcher Amber O’Connell hit a walk-off home run. A memorable finale for the legendary UWRF coach.

Next for the Falcons will be the conference tournament. They take on the WIAC co-champions, the Blugolds of Eau Claire. The Falcons split with Eau Claire during the regular season.

Senior pitcher Abbie Morris talked about the upcoming conference tournament and what the Falcons have to do to win.

”The conference tournament will definitely be a good challenge for us,” Morris said. “We know we have the ability and potential to beat any team in the WIAC as long as we are on our game and play error-less defense and have hot bats on offense.”

Morris who is second on the team in ERA and wins, talked about how she as well as the rest of the team is feeling about going into this tournament.

“I absolutely believe that we have the ability to take the entire tournament if we stick to playing as a team and continue to focus on one game, one play, one at bat and one pitch at a time,” Morris said.

If UWRF defeats Eau Claire on Friday, the Falcons would play the loser of Friday’s UW-Oshkosh/UW-La Crosse game.